Honda to start mass recall in China over Takata air bags

AFP-JIJI

Honda will recall more than 245,000 vehicles in China over concerns about air bags made by troubled Japanese giant Takata, Chinese authorities said Sunday, dealing another blow to Takata’s largest client.

The Japanese carmaker and its Chinese joint venture partner, Guangqi Honda, will start withdrawing vehicles fitted with the potentially faulty air bags beginning Oct. 23, including the Accord, Fit, City, Crosstour and Everus S1 models, China’s top consumer watchdog said.

They will replace the faulty air bags for free.

Takata has recalled some 100 million air bags produced for some of the world’s largest automakers, including about 70 million in the U.S., because of the risk that they could improperly inflate and rupture, potentially firing deadly shrapnel at the vehicle’s occupants.

The problem has been linked to a number of deaths and injuries worldwide. In China, the defect involves more than 20 million vehicles, most of which have already been recalled.

Last month, Honda reached a $605 million settlement in a lawsuit over defective air bags in millions of cars on American roads.

Honda joins Nissan, Toyota, BMW, Mazda and Subaru in agreeing a deal to settle a lawsuit, replace the defective air bags from now-bankrupt Takata, and to compensate car owners.

Multiple Honda models are affected by the case, including the Civic, Accord and CR-V, dating back to 2001.

The air bag defect has been linked to 16 deaths and scores of injuries worldwide, as the safety devices can inflate with excessive force, sending shrapnel from the inflator canister hurtling toward driver and passengers.

The issue led to the biggest car recall in history of about 100 million vehicles worldwide.

Takata in February pleaded guilty to fraud for hiding the defect, and paid a $1 billion fine.

The company filed for bankruptcy in June.

The bankruptcy could mean the major automakers may find the air bag producer will not reimburse them for their costs, despite an $875 million fund created by Takata in January.